In A Lumber Camp (KJV)
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- Format: Folded Tract
- Paper: Gloss Text
- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 4
- Version: KJV
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It was the dawn of an autumn day. In the dim light two men were threading their way through a pine forest. On either side the tree trunks rose like pillars and, far above the heads of the passing men, the branches formed a dense green canopy. Under foot, a carpet of pine needles deadened the sound of their footsteps.
Tim, the shorter of the two, was hunched from years of hard work in the forest. His kindly face peered up at Raymond from underneath his tangled dark hair and beard.
Raymond, a recent arrival to the lumber camp, was younger with broad shoulders and a fair, clear-cut face. His steel-blue eyes glared when Tim said, “Ray, you’ve got a lot to be thankful for.” Undaunted, Tim continued, “I don’t know what’s in the few years behind you, nor what brought the likes of you here, but you’re young and strong, you know books, and you’ve had a chance. The others haven’t, but you’ve had a chance in life, Ray.”
Reaching an opening in the forest, Tim threw aside his coat, and began, with strong, sturdy strokes, to chop down a tall pine. Raymond stood lost in thought, Tim’s words still echoing in his mind, “You’ve had a chance.” Yes, he had, as he recalled the events that had brought him here only weeks before.
Thanksgiving day came. Snow was falling rapidly, for winter had already come to the northern forest. Raymond and Tim were working with a large party of choppers when they felled a monarch of the forest. Above the resounding crash rang out a cry of terror and pain.
Tim had chanced to stand where the great branches swept him from his feet and pinned him to the earth. Raymond was the first to reach his side. Carefully the men freed him, finding his body fearfully mangled.
“I guess it’s all over with me, boys” he said, trying hard to keep his voice steady.
“Ray, stay by me. Don’t leave me!”
They carried him to the camp and laid him on a bunk near the fire. A message was sent for a doctor, but none expected Tim to live until one could arrive.
Tim, in great pain, looked up into the faces of his companions. “It’s death, boys. Tell me ‘bout God—no one ever told me.”
A strange silence fell upon the group of men. Tim spoke again, “Ray, tell me. You must know, cause you’re different from the rest of us. Pray for me.”
Raymond’s face grew stern and white. His father was a minister. He had himself been a theological student until a skeptical classmate instilled doubt into his mind. Then, upon the death of his mother, Raymond scoffed at his faith and denied God. He resolved to cut himself loose from home ties. He wrote defiantly to his father of his change of views and went out into the world leaving no clue whereby he could be traced. Dark days followed. He had to learn the emptiness of life without hope in God.
All those things flashed through his mind in a moment. A groan broke from his lips. “Tim, I cannot. I….” He was unable to say that he did not believe in the God to whom, in the hour of death, even Tim had turned. Rising from the dying man, Raymond rushed out into the storm. He strode back and forth through the trackless forest, heeding not the wind and snow. Face to face he met and grappled with the problem of his relation to the Creator. Alone with God, his boasted skepticism fell from him. The theories of science and philosophy upon which he had rested gave way beneath him. There was but one sure foundation.
Shadows were beginning to gather in the room where Tim lay. The door opened and Raymond, with a firm step, approached the dying man.
“Tim, I have been with God. He has forgiven me, sinner that I am. Now I have come to tell you of His love.” Simply, tenderly, he told the story of God’s love in sending His beloved Son into the world to die for sinners, becoming the Sinbearer for all who put their trust in Him as Saviour. “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Others gathered around the bed. Could they doubt the truth of the words spoken when they saw the light that came into the dying man’s face? “I believe,” Tim gasped. “Now let me pray.” Raymond knelt down as one and then another of the rough men dropped upon their knees. Surrounded by these men who “never had a chance,” Tim prayed, confessing his sins to God, and calling upon Jesus to be his Saviour. Then he said, “I’m going to be with God now. Ray, you tell everybody.”
As his friend’s last breath passed from him, Raymond said, with tears in his eyes, “Yes, Tim. I will spend my life telling it.”
The work begun at that lumber camp through Tim’s tragic death went on until seventy souls were brought to know the Lord Jesus as their own Saviour.